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Terrorist organizations have been able to market mass murder under hysteria’s banner of alleged martyrdom. But when it comes to understanding Islamic suicide terrorism in particular, there is much more to it than martyrdom. In this groundbreaking book, Nancy Kobrin dismantles the psychological dynamics of suicide terrorism to help the reader gain a new perspective on one of the most destructive forces the world has witnessed to date. Until now, no one has explained why the mother-child relationship is central to understanding Islamic suicide terrorism. The Banality of Suicide Terrorism exposes the very ordinariness of one of the deepest yet most poorly understood causes of the suicide bomber’s motivation: a profound terror of abandonment that is rooted in the mother-child relationship. According to Kobrin, this terror is so great in the would-be suicide terrorist that he or she must commit suicide (and mass murder in the process) in order to fend off that terror of dependency and abandonment. Suicide terrorists seek a return to the bond with the mother of early childhood— known as maternal fusion—by means of a “death fusion” with their enemies, who subconsciously represent the loved (and hated) maternal figure. The terrorist’s political struggle merely serves as cover for this emotionally terrifying inner turmoil, which can lead down the path of ultimate destruction.

About the Author

Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin is a psychoanalyst who runs a counterterrorism consulting company that conducts seminars to help domestic and international law enforcement agencies. An expert on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Dr. Kobrin contributed to the section on short-term psychodynamic therapy in what has become the bible for the Veterans Administration system: Effective Treatments for PTSD, First Edition (Guilford Press, 2000). She has presented at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; given seminars to the police and military intelligence agencies in Israel, Spain, and Sri Lanka; and taught U.S. Army military intelligence courses in Missouri and Florida. She lives in Minnesota.

Praise For…

“This is a brilliant incisive tour de force that has captured the imagination of prominent psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, and counterterrorism experts in America and Israel."—New English Review

“A fine survey for any college-level psychology or social issues library.”—Midwest Book Review

“A fascinating and brilliant book that goes through the hearts and minds of the suicide bombers.”—Jean-Charles Brisard, former chief investigator, 9/11 families’ lawsuits

“Nancy Kobrin reveals the reason why so-called jihadist martyrs do what they do and act the way they act. Riveting, revelatory and right on target, this book will revolutionize the way we view and treat radical Islamic extremism and suicide terrorism. . . . A must-read for the lay person and the professional alike.”—Jeffrey Denning, author of The Work of Death: For God, Family and Country and former federal air marshal and military intelligence officer

“Nancy Kobrin’s book is a stark reminder of the ways that rigid adherence to any unexamined orthodoxy can indemnify oppression and violence.”—Abby Stein, author of Prologue to Violence: Child Abuse, Dissociation, and Crime and associate professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

"I deeply admire Nancy Kobrin’s ability to think outside the box in her investigation of the phenomenon of dying as a martyr among young Muslims. Whether or not one agrees with all of her theories, one cannot help but applaud Kobrin’s ability to analyze the cultural and psychological dimensions in creating terrorist minds without ignoring the theological dimension."—Tawfik Hamid, former Islamic extremist and Chair for the Study of Islamic Radicalism, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
Product Details
ISBN: 9781597975049
ISBN-10: 1597975044
Publisher: Potomac Books
Publication Date: March 1st, 2010
Pages: 192
Language: English